Ramming It Home–A Look Into Colorado State

Posted by: Avinash on Thursday, September 6th, 2007

The California Golden Bears don't want to get ambushed by the Colorado State Rams again

Obviously, the foray into Vol Nation last week to preview the Tennessee game was the biggest step this fledging blog has taken into the mainstream. Some of them might have been obnoxious homers, but hell they were confident. It was infectious, and it was definitely foreign territory. The last time I was that confident in a team was the ’95 Magic, and look what they did to me.

Contrast that to RamNation this week, where people are saying things like ” Yeah, Cal will probably kill us, but… at least I’ll have a beer in my hand while being there to watch it.” and “It’ll be a fun year with low expectations.” These aren’t exactly a resolute lot of fans, but I guess losing the way they did last week will do that to you.

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Needless to say, approaching them for a preview of the Colorado State game wasn’t as daunting. Here’s a sample of their responses for Saturday.

I only caught snippets of the Colorado game last week, but you played
them tough before falling in OT. What are the positives you can take
from that game that will help you try to stymie the Bears?

I’m still stinging over that loss. The players didn’t lose the game,
the coaches did. For the fourth time in five years, it comes down to
virtually the last play of the game, and the coaches don’t make any
bold decisions in the fourth quarter when one more score would have
won the game.

They could have used play-action on 1st down any time in the 4th
quarter and hit Kory Sperry or JW, probably for a big gain, but they
chose not to. They played not to lose instead of playing to win.

But…it is what it is… you make your own breaks, and we didn’t
create any in the fourth quarter. Stanard could have brought more
pressure on Hawk Jr., because when he did we either got a sack, a
tipped ball, or forced a bad throw. And Hammer could have certainly
thrown a little more on first and second down to keep the Buffs
off-balance and not allow them to stack 8 or 9 guys in the box. Heck,
they couldn’t cover Kory Sperry all game.

With that said, I thought Bell, Sperry and Hanie were outstanding
(except for Hanie’s INT). Our O-line, D-line and LBs were decent to
semi-good (though we need to create more pressure). Our secondary
needs some help, and our special teams are atrocious. I think we can
give Cal a good game if we control the clock and pound them with Bell,
Sperry and occasionally hit a deep ball. But if our special teams
stink like they did on Saturday and we don’t get some early stops on
D, it’s going to be a long game.

Caleb Hanie is easily the most experienced QB in the Mountain West.
Will the Rams have to rely primarily on the passing game to stay in
it? Or is there anything else that the Bears should look out for?

Offensively, CSU has very talented skill players. As you pointed out,
Caleb Hanie is a solid and experienced QB. His arm strength is average
but he is very accurate and throws a nice over-the-top ball.

The running game is led by a genuine horse named Kyle Bell. Kyle
missed the entire 2006 season with an ACL injury after rushing for
almost 1300 yards in 2005. He is a punishing, straight-ahead runner
and his speed can surprise teams, especially late in the game. He had
40 carries against CU so its obvious he’s recovered from the knee

The passing game is led by TE Kory Sperry who is 6’6″ , weighs 260
pounds, and runs like a deer. There isn’t a Pac-10 school that wouldn’t
love to have him in the line-up. The WR’s are small and fast, led by
Johnnie Walker and Damon Morton. Walker is among the top Active
Career Leaders in D-1, ranked 4th in catches and 14th in yards; he is
very nifty when in space. Morton is a deep threat who saw limited
action vs CU due to a shoulder injury; he was CSU’s best receiver in
Fall Camp.

The offensive line is young and still uproven. It was the weakness of the
team last year but hey had a solid game against CU, blocking
reasonably well on both the run and the pass.

What about on the defensive side?

Defensively, CSU is very experienced with 4 seniors and 3 juniors in the
regular D-line rotation. You should make your audience aware that one
of the DT’s is Erik Sandie who prepped at Concord DeLasalle. The most
hyped player is DE Jesse Nading; the best last week vs. CU was
Tommie Hill, a 6’7″, 240 lb athlete.

The linebackers are solid and not spectacular. We have an athletic red-
shirt freshman named RIcky Brewer who was the pre-season MWC
Freshman of the Year that was expected to start vs CU but inexplicably
did not see the field. Many of us are hoping he gets some plays vs. Cal.

The secondary is experienced, but thin in depth. Two senior CB’s ,
Darryl Williams and Joey Rucks, who are small but smart, tough, and
good tacklers. The safeties are very solid and smart – Klint Kubiak is
the son of NFL Head Coach Gary Kubiak and Mike Pagnotta is
probably the best player on the defense.

Special teams are led by Punter Jim Kaylor – big leg but a little
inconsistent some days. The placekicker is a kid named Jason Smith.
Our other Jason Smith was a 1st round pick in the 2007 NBA draft; this
one is a good athlete who struggles with the pulls. Special teams
coverage is crap and cost us the CU game. It will be a miracle if Cal
doesn’t score at least one TD on special teams. Our punt returners are
Johnnie Walker and Damon Morton – they are both very good.

Any standouts who look like they have a great shot at the NFL? Who
should we look out for to have an impact in this game?

We were able to beat you in 2003 with a talented QB in BVP
and Hanie has some of his abilities – not as good a runner, but a
better passer. His NFL-bound TE, Kory Sperry, is big, strong and fast –
very acrobatic and has great hands. Kyle Bell is a stud at RB.

It’s likely Cal might suffer from Tennessee hangover and start out
slowly. How can Colorado State take advantage and hope to upset

Somewhat like last week, we need long sustained drives. Win the time
of possession game. Having said that, we will be extremely lucky to
pull it off. I think they jump on us early and we never catch up. Cal 45
CSU 10. CU jumped us early, took us until second quarter to get in the
right defense, Cal is significantly better than CU, once they knock us
down, they won’t let us back up. Sorry to say it, but Cal is legit and I
think our problems are deeper than our talent. We have inferior talent
and below average coaching. I do love the Rams, but we need an

Topics: Cal Football, Sports

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